The last few days, I have been living in the past. And the future. And another world.
I’ve mentioned that I started the work of re-writing/editing my earlier novel, Viridia. I struggled with it for a while, wondering if it was even worth bothering over. But I knew that I needed to get more books out, beyond the Heart of Fire series. Working on this one would give me the chance to do that faster.
So I enlisted some help from my friends in the Apex Writers Group. All of the responses I got were very positive and encouraging. This story could work. They even helped me overcome one of the difficulties I had with the opening chapters.
I got excited. I started making serious progress. You can see from the bar on the right how far along I’ve come in recent days. I’ve been re-reading and re-writing this story I wrote several years ago. Sometimes, I have to ask, “Wow. Did I write this?” Other times, I have to ask, “Ugh. Did I write that?”
Tonight, I even pulled up the outline and opening pages I had written for the sequel. Wow, this is some crazy stuff. And it just might work.
Dragons. Cybernetics. Swords. Trains. Magic? It all fits in here. And it’s all coming together.
What does this mean for the Heart of Fire series? Nothing, really. I’m still working on the opening chapters of book three. It is going a little slower than I’d like, because my creative energies are split. But I try to divide my time between the two books, so neither is neglected. If I am motivated enough, I can get this done.
Out of all the names of characters and places in my books, this is the one people ask me about the most. Ixchel is a great character to write, and I’m looking forward to seeing how her story continues. But how do you say her name?
The answer is… not as easy as it seems.
You can literally google “how do you pronounce ixchel” and you’ll get multiple answers.
This video, for example, pronounces it the way it’s spelled in English:
But this video pronounces it more like “ee-shell”:
Ixchel is a Mayan name. The culture of her land and people in my books is loosely based on the ancient Maya. So logically, the best guide to it would be an explanation of how the Mayans pronounced it, right?
If you read that, you’ll find that “ee-shell” is close, but… it actually ends up something more like “eesh-chail” including the “ch” sound and pronouncing the “e” as a long “a.”
So which one is right?
It’s a fantasy novel, with names and cultures that I created. I’m sort of the final arbiter here. Except… it may come to a huge surprise to readers that I don’t always pronounce the names in my head while writing them. And since I was raised on American phonics, when I do pronounce names from other languages, I often do it completely wrong.
I like “ee-shell.” And “eesh-chail” is a bit too cumbersome for my tongue. But you know what? You can pronounce it however you choose. I won’t mind.
But I’d better start getting it right myself. She scares me.